BioMed Central launches checklist for reproducibility

BioMed Central has launched a pilot checklist to improve the reproducibility of studies published in its journals.

In recent decades, the reproducibility of a large number of scientific studies has been called into question. Researchers were able to confirm only 11% of the findings1 in a well-publicized oncology study of preclinical research findings, while other hallmark papers in cancer through to psychology have been flagged as largely unreproducible.

In an effort to address this BioMed Central has launched the pilot of a new Minimum Standards of Reporting Checklist for manuscripts submitted to a group of select journals: BMC Biology, BMC Neuroscience, Genome Biology and GigaScience.

The checklist addresses three areas of reporting: experimental design and statistics, resources, and availability of data and materials.

In a launch editorial for the new checklist BioMed Central staff and the Editors of GigaScience andGenome Biology said: “Our ability to rely on published data for potential therapeutics is critical, and recently its reliability has been called into question… Funding and time are both increasingly limited, and the waste generated from follow-up work based on irreproducible research is high.

“Journals clearly have an important part to play in helping to ensure that experimental design and analysis are appropriate, and that reporting standards are met. The new checklist for authors and referees aims to do just that.”

The checklist has been produced according to NIH guidelines2 for reporting preclinical research.

Authors will be asked on submission to confirm that they have included the information asked for in the checklist or give reasons for any instances where it is not made available or not applicable. Likewise, reviewers will be asked to confirm the information has been satisfactorily reported and reviewed.

BioMed Central plans to review the data that has been collected around the trial, with the aim of rolling out the checklist (with any revisions) across all BioMed Central journals.